Wick Fund

Effective January 1, 2014, the Kenney Brothers Foundation’s funding for western water protection has been exhausted. The following information is for historical reference only.


William C. Kenney (Wick) was a passionate environmentalist and whitewater kayaker. Shortly before his death in 1994, Wick established the W. C. Kenney Watershed Protection Foundation to carry out his vision of a West where rivers run free and clean from the headwaters to the sea. Because of Wick’s love of whitewater, the Foundation exists to protect and restore watersheds in the Western United States.

The Wick Fund makes discretionary support grants to groups located (roughly) west of the 100th meridian.

Visit our grantmaking page to read about our funding priorities and guidelines.

In 1995, the William Kenney Foundation began operating out of a California office, where a dedicated staff and an engaged Board of Directors helped the Foundation grant over 2.5 million dollars to nearly one hundred excellent river protection groups.

In 2004, in the face of limited resources, the Foundation curbed operational and staffing costs to invest more in grassroots groups working in their local watersheds. By dispensing with lengthy scoping and application processes, the Foundation operates without an office or staff, thereby making more funds available to grassroots groups.

In 2005, the Foundation developed a Leadership Award grant process that provided $25,000 per year for three years to ten leaders in the western water community.

In 2007, the William C. Kenney Foundation merged with the Jay Kenney Foundation under the new name Kenney Brothers Foundation, as an additional cost-saving measure. KBF separately manages two funds: the Wick Kenney Fund and the Jay Kenney Fund. Other funds may be added at a later time to reflect the interests and values of Wick and Jay’s brothers, or of Jay’s sons.

The Wick Kenney Fund makes all grants through its discretionary grant process. Grants will be made for general support, specific projects, and to encourage policy research and analysis. See Grants page for full details.

We believe that groups working on water issues in the west should spend the bulk of their time doing that work, not chasing after foundation dollars. To that end, our inquiry, application, and reporting process is extremely limited. We do not necessarily think we are smarter than the groups we fund and believe that you, the people and organizations doing the work on the ground, are in the best position to know what you need. In return for our support, we ask that you act with intention, integrity, and intelligence.

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